Have you ever thought about having a snake but not sure as to what is involved? Welcome to the right place! Did you know that keeping a reptile as a pet is regulated in every state? Most require a licence and other rules may apply, so before you decide to purchase your new slithery friend, it is vital that you check your state’s location laws on reptile keeping.
Following this, there are a few other things to consider before purchasing your snake. One being that snakes are not as affectionate (in the traditional sense) like cats and dogs may be. They can become aggressive, or food focused if not handled correctly/often enough.
Another thing to be mindful of is the cost. Inviting a snake into your home requires a specialised set up for your snake which can be costly, not including possible licensing fees and ongoing veterinary costs. A clean enclosure, washing your hands before and after handling, fresh water (daily) and a complete diet will help your snake avoid most disease or illness, however, regular vet checks are recommended, just like any pet, to ensure that your snake is happy and healthy.
Feeding a snake requires prey and therefore, you need to be willing to provide your snake with the appropriate food and the freezer space for their supply. Most snakes eat frozen mice, rats and birds and have a slow metabolism which can mean that leaving food around is normal.
Snakes are incredible escape artists and therefore, you need to ensure that your enclosure is secure for even the smallest of gaps. When choosing an enclosure, it’s important to keep in mind the full size that your snake will grow to, so you are not housing them in the wrong sized home. In your terrarium you should have bark, sand and newspaper which is commonly used for a substrate.
Branches, rocks and logs are good accessories for your snake’s house as well as some natural sunlight (or a UVB light) and shaded areas. A heat lamp with a temperature of 32-35 degrees Celsius is ideal, keep this in one part of the enclosure so your snake has room to cool if needed. Your snake should have a water bowl that is changed daily also.
In terms of exercise, snakes will mostly look after themselves. As long as you have their enclosure set up so they can bask, climb up and around branches or vines, your snake will be able to explore and stretch their legs (so to speak) as they please. The earlier snakes are handled, the better as they will find it more comfortable and enjoyable to spend time with their owners. Be sure to be gentle and all children must have adult supervision. They also shed their skin as often as once a month which requires their enclosure to be at the right humidity and temperature for the process to be successful.
Snakes have unique needs and are recommended to be owned only by those who are willing to commit time (most species live over 20 years), understanding, and the costs needed to truly care for a pet snake. Some popular snake breeds for beginners are the Stimson’s Python, Children’s Python and Spotted Python as they are generally quite tolerant of handling and obedient.
If, after reading this, you feel a snake is the perfect pet for you, speak to your local Just For Pets pet expert and enjoy the process of your bringing home your new friend!